Moshe Safdie

Moshe Safdie is Ian Woodner Studio Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at Harvard University, where he was Director of the Urban Design Program at the Graduate School of Design from 1978 to 1984. His previous books include Beyond Habitat, For Everyone a Garden, and Form and Purpose.

  • The Harvard Jerusalem Studio

    The Harvard Jerusalem Studio

    Urban Designs for the Holy City

    Moshe Safdie

    These studies, conducted in 1980-1984 by teams of faculty, students, consultants, and advisors from the Jerusalem planning community and the Harvard Graduate School of Design, provide a unique sense of Jerusalem's natural and built environment, its livability, cultural diversity, and political and religious tensions.

    Modern Jerusalem is one of the most fascinating laboratories for urban development. These studies, conducted in 1980-1984 by teams of faculty, students, consultants, and advisors from the Jerusalem planning community and the Harvard Graduate School of Design, provide a unique sense of Jerusalem's natural and built environment, its livability, cultural diversity, and political and religious tensions. The more than 500 illustrations include contemporary plans and drawings as well as lithographs, engravings, and historical material that convey the special quality of the Holy City. Moshe Safdie, who initiated and directed the Jerusalem studio, discusses the urban design program at Harvard in his introduction to the book. In the first three chapters, he traces Jerusalem's heritage, presents the Old City and its visual basin, and details projects for Damascus Gate (where "all the ingredients, problems, and opportunities that have made urban design a necessary activity are demonstrated"). The remaining chapters focus on the forces of change and how to plan for explosive growth in the new city outside the wall. They present plans for the downtown or central business district, the new satellite towns to the north and south, and the green belt surrounding the city. A final chapter returns to Damascus Gate and presents designs for the no-man's-land, (known as the Seam) outside it. This strategic parcel of land links the Arab and Israeli business districts and the Old City markets. Working with local communities and the municipality, three GSD graduates developed the design that was given the first Progressive Architecture Urban Design Award in 1985. So compelling was this proposal that the municipality intends to implement it. The Jerusalem studio program was not only pedagogically significant but also of great practical value for the city of Jerusalem. The teams shed light on the opportunities and predicaments of a great historic city undergoing rapid growth and development and offered some brilliant design strategies. While the studies focus on Jerusalem, the issues they address - such as how new development can be made to harmonize with historic architecture and the impact that new commercial centers have on a strongly divided population - are relevant to many cities.

    • Hardcover $52.00
  • For Everyone a Garden

    Moshe Safdie and Judith Wolin

    Moshe Safdie achieved worldwide recognition as an architect when his very first building, Habitat 67, at Expo in Montreal, proved to be eminently livable. He was also enthusiastically praised as a writer on architectural and human values after the publication of his first book, Beyond Habitat (The MIT Press, 1970). He has since added to his luster a number of exciting architectural projects, and now this second book, For Everyone a Garden, goes beyond Beyond Habitat in several ways: it provides further detail and technical specificity of Safdie's experience with industrialized building methods for architects and engineers; it updates the status of ongoing projects; and, best of all, it throws off a cascade of sparkling new ideas about people, building, planning, sites, processes, and their interactions. His readers will be glad to know that he remains as outspoken as ever.

    The book is an integral synthesis of words and pictures. The greater part of its total net area is devoted to illustrations—about 125 drawings, 165 halftones, and 5 color photographs, supported by substantial captions—while the text proper puts these into perspective from four thematic points of view: the idea of the three-dimensional community; the requirements and possibilities of human habitation, ranging in amenity from the minimal to the luxurious; the techniques of building in the factory, with a case study that includes a typical plant layout and simplified flow diagrams; and the attributes of well-planned urban meeting places, whether in Jerusalem, Paris, or San Francisco.

    The specific projects discussed in the book range from a proposal to convert Expo into a viable community of a quarter-million people after the close of the exhibition to his plans for a synagogue and rabbinical college near the Western Wall in Jerusalem. There are also reports on Safdie's more recent commission, including the following:-Two projects intended for Manhattan along the East River. In one, the prebuilt housing modules were to be suspended from cables. For everyone, a garden and a view.-The original plans for Habitat Puerto Rico, a cluster of modules clinging to a hillside, and a geometric variation designed to root like a cactus to a rocky peninsula in the Virgin Islands. For everyone, a private garden within a natural community garden.-Habitat Israel: ever near the desert, a garden terrace for every family.-Habit Rochester, a community for low- and moderate-income families, with units of minimal size but each with a small terrace beyond sliding glass doors.-Coldspring New Town, Baltimore, a commission of 1971. It promises to be one of the few “garden cities” in America to live up to the name in reality.

    • Hardcover $14.95
    • Paperback $8.95
  • Beyond Habitat

    Beyond Habitat

    Moshe Safdie

    Habitat was one of the most intriguing buildings in the world when it opened as the housing exhibit of Expo 67 in Montreal. Seven million visited it; heads of state lived in it; models flew half way around the world to pose in front of it; children played hide-and-seek all over it; and critics heralded it as “the breakthrough of twentieth century architecture.”

    As intriguing as the bilding is the story of how it came to exist. Here, in Beyond Habitat, its young architect Moshe Safdie describes – with a frankness that permits a rare view behind the scenes of modern architecture and mass housing – how his ideas developed and how he fought them into realization. It is a personal statement – almost a private diary and photo album, often containing observations “of a kind one confides only to a friend.”

    Safdie tells his story now because he believes that what lies beyond Habitat, what Habitat presaged, is even more significant then Habitat itself. In each of his projects since, he has tried to advance the work Habitat began: in Habitat Puerto Rico (now under construction); in Habitat Israel, the 1,500 dwelling system covering a mountainside outside Jerusalem; in the design for a union building commissioned by students of the San Francisco State College which, when rejected by state officials, became a symbol influencing the campus uprising; in a spectacular suspension building system for the New York waterfront.

    Safdie's work points to a new kind of environment:... factory built cities where modern technology, far from regimenting, is used to liberate man to a wider choice of environment than he has ever known... three dimensional cities reaching upwards with streets in the sky, gardens on rooftops, dwellings open on three sides to air and space and sun... creative cities where the cultural riches of a high density environment combine with the quiet and privacy of low density to give men the best of both worlds... and, most important of all, cities that would express a contemporary vernacular, be so harmony with man's spirit that he would no longer need arbitrary design, inappropriate furnishings and irrelevant art to help him forget the ugliness around him.

    To achieve such an environment, Safdie believes we must change most of our present attitudes toward government, housing, industry, design and art. Governments must set themselves new action for cities, laws, taxes; they must adopt new environmental codes. Industry must undertake the kind of research in building materials it did for automobiles and airplanes. Contractors must reorganize their methods of working. Unions must give up present division of trades. Building codes and by-laws must be updated.

    In all of this Habitatit Montreal was the beginning. The struggle to get Habitat built is indicative of the kind of the stuggleo build the new city, The fact that Hahitat di get built is casue for hope,

    • eBook $19.95

Contributor

  • Falling for Science

    Falling for Science

    Objects in Mind

    Sherry Turkle

    Passion for objects and love for science: scientists and students reflect on how objects fired their scientific imaginations.

    "This is a book about science, technology, and love,” writes Sherry Turkle. In it, we learn how a love for science can start with a love for an object—a microscope, a modem, a mud pie, a pair of dice, a fishing rod. Objects fire imagination and set young people on a path to a career in science. In this collection, distinguished scientists, engineers, and designers as well as twenty-five years of MIT students describe how objects encountered in childhood became part of the fabric of their scientific selves. In two major essays that frame the collection, Turkle tells a story of inspiration and connection through objects that is often neglected in standard science education and in our preoccupation with the virtual. The senior scientists' essays trace the arc of a life: the gears of a toy car introduce the chain of cause and effect to artificial intelligence pioneer Seymour Papert; microscopes disclose the mystery of how things work to MIT President and neuroanatomist Susan Hockfield; architect Moshe Safdie describes how his boyhood fascination with steps, terraces, and the wax hexagons of beehives lead him to a life immersed in the complexities of design. The student essays tell stories that echo these narratives: plastic eggs in an Easter basket reveal the power of centripetal force; experiments with baking illuminate the geology of planets; LEGO bricks model worlds, carefully engineered and colonized. All of these voices—students and mentors—testify to the power of objects to awaken and inform young scientific minds. This is a truth that is simple, intuitive, and easily overlooked.

    • Hardcover $28.95
    • Paperback $20.00